iPhone Users can’t easily read QR and Datamatrix Codes?

The iPhone’s camera with its fixed lens, fixed aperture, low sensitivity and no flash does not amount to much when compared to a standard Nokia N95 with its Carl Zeiss lens, automatic focus, flash and detailed user-configurable settings. Could the camera quality be the reason that iPhone users are rating the 2d barcode decoders so low at two and a half stars or less, out of a possible five? Of the four decoders available from the iTunes store, with a total of 26 reviews), Barcode and NeoReader’s average rating is only two and a half stars, 2D Sense two stars and iDecode one star!

15 thoughts on “iPhone Users can’t easily read QR and Datamatrix Codes?”

  1. It is not only the camera quality that is creating user frustration. After all you can squeeze and scale the image of the 2D Code after you took it. That way you can make sure that the Code is in the middle of the screen and big enough. So you work against the crappy camera a bit by manually positioning.

    I think the real problem is the combination of different flaws:
    . Camera quality is not the best
    . Decoding is slow (especially with the manual rotation/scaling as a step in between)
    . The user really has to ‘take’ a picture, compared to other 2D Code readers (like the one I have on my N-73) where you just wave the phone over the code and it decodes.
    . Frustration is very big when you have all those steps combined and then the Code could still not be decoded…

    It is sad that the iPhone is, until now, such a bad device when it comes to dealing with 2D Codes as it has huge potential.

  2. It’s probably what you said as well as the fact that lots of decoder applications on the N95 read the codes in video mode, whereas I believe you have to snap a picture of the codes with an iPhone.

  3. Hey Matt, I’m not an iPhone user as you know but do you know if the Quickmark iPhone reader is in the wild yet?

    This is what I use on my HTC and it’s super fast.

    I know they have one available/in development as I have a video of it being used on my http://www.collins.net.pr/blog site but I’ve never seen it operational on any iPhones yet.

    It’s a much faster reader than the neoreader.

    Dean Collins

  4. I’ve thoroughly tested all the readers and have to agree that the readers are below those available for other mobile phones. Saying that, iPhone users are the perfect audience for QR codes since nearly all iPhones are connected to a data plan (in the UK unlimited useage on O2). The “magazine” I am launching next month is QR code focused and we will be targeting iPhone users…a first in publishing.

  5. The camera quality is a frustration issue for users. Users are also expressing frustrations or “the reader doesn’t work” sentiments because they try to scan UPC codes which the iPhone camera can not process due to the lack of a macro focus lens.

  6. i’ve been experimenting a lot with barcode readers on my iphone… i got the griffin clarifi case with built-in macro lens and now i can finally take a sharp enough picture of a UPC symbol and successfully decode with neoreader (the only one right now, i think, that does 1d barcodes)…

    the main problem is that yes the number of steps is way too high… and 2, the results are not highly compelling. not to mention that neomedia’s database for looking up UPCs is ****** and doesn’t have half the codes i’ve scanned.

    the shopsavvy app for android looks to me to be the best “application” for barcodes yet. decoding a barcode is just table stakes. what you do with the result is what’s interesting, and so far no one is really doing much with that.

  7. I recently tried out ‘Barcodes’ from the App Store (which is based on Google’s ZXing project). I have to say I was really impressed, and it worked really well. Even if the picture was blurry or dark, it’s decoded everything I’ve thrown at it – and whilst the ‘taking a picture’ is a pain, I haven’t bothered with resizing each picture after taking the photo and they’ve worked just fine. Give it a spin and see what you think! (The icon is a zebra with a 2D code on it)

  8. I also tried the Barcodes app and it works quite well, however there’s still too many click throughs to try to get onto the relevant mobile internet page (plus the icons are a little confusing). Out of all of the readers available for the iPhone, the NeoReader seems to be the quickest, most stable and useable. I’ve scanned average sized QR codes from 30cm away and the reader recognises the codes!

  9. We’ve just released a new QR Code scanner for iPhone, called Optiscan. We’ve put a lot of work into it, including some image processing improvements, meaning that it’s significantly faster – and more accurate – than the competition.

    Our announcement is here:

    And it’s available on the App Store here;

  10. I have found that Optiscan (paid app by costs a couple of bucks) works fantastic even on iPhone 3Gs crappy camera. Just point the camera at the code – no manual interference. It generates codes as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *